Expert witnesses are professionals who have not seen the injury or accident happen, but they provide an independent view on a specific aspect of a personal injury case, on the basis of their professional experience, expertise, knowledge, or education. This can be provided either in person or in writing during the trial. The opinions of an expert witness depend on the facts of the injury case – generally the technical facets of the same.
In virtually all personal injury cases that go to trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant hire one or more expert witnesses to strengthen or disprove the claims. For instance, in an accident involving a truck, car, or pedestrian, the types of expert witnesses that are generally used to provide expert opinion include health service providers like physicians or other medical experts, accident reconstruction professionals, and vocational rehabilitation experts.
Expert witnesses can aid the jury or judge in understanding how and when the crash occurred as well as the types and magnitude of damage, along with several other key details. Expert witnesses usually do this by creating models that are presented in court.
Difference between an Expert Witness and a Lay Witness
Witnesses involved in personal injury cases are generally grouped into two broad categories: lay witnesses and expert witnesses.
- Eyewitnesses are those who were present at the accident scene and can share personal knowledge of what they observed or heard.
- Expert witnesses are professionals who may be hired by an attorney representing a personal injury case to help with evidence.
Types of Expert Witnesses:
Here are several different types of expert witnesses used in personal injury cases:
A medical expert, like a doctor, nurse, or other specialist may help testify about the severity of a victim’s injuries, the long-term prognosis, and how the injuries might affect the victim’s livelihood.
Mental Health Expert:
In some cases, the incident could be so traumatic to the victim that it can leave a long-lasting emotional impact on them. A mental health expert may testify about the emotional status of a victim, including anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Moreover, a mental health expert can explain how the victim’s condition could affect their ability to behave and function normally both at work and at home.
Accident Reconstruction Expert:
An accident reconstruction expert may recreate the accident scene while explaining what actually happened in a manner that could answer complex questions related to the car crash, slip or fall, or other types of accident.
Manufacturing experts are generally used in cases involving the use of a defective product by a victim. They can explain how a defective product failed to function as expected which resulted in an accident, eventually causing injuries to a victim.
An engineering expert is generally required in premises liability cases. For instance, an engineering expert might explain how a poorly maintained road or the structural issues in a building resulted in a victim’s injuries.
An economic expert may offer insight or testimony about the nature and extent of the fiscal impact of injuries on a victim, involved in an accident.
When Can You Use an Expert Witness?
An expert witness can be critical to the possible outcome of a personal injury case. During a settlement negotiation, the opinion of an expert witness can compel the other party involved in the case as well as their insurer to reach a favorable outcome. During a trial, an expert witness can offer key insight, views, and facts to educate a judge or jury about the varied aspects of a case.
How Using Expert Witnesses Can Be Beneficial
In the majority of personal injury cases, expert witnesses are not needed. The reason is, there could be additional costs for using one, which will be deducted from the compensation awarded to you. Hence, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney in Clermont to represent your case so that you don’t incur any unnecessary additional costs.
However, in cases involving complex injuries, like product liability claims, auto crashes, and slip and fall accidents, hiring expert witnesses might make a huge difference. Having an expert witness, who can clearly explain medical, financial, and technical problems, might help a judge
or jury to understand what actually happened while making them aware of the difficult situation of a victim in a better way. Moreover, the testimony from an expert witness is considered both extremely objective and credible, which may lead to a more favorable outcome for the sufferer.
How Expert Witnesses Can Help Your Personal Injury Case
While the bulk of personal injury cases settles outside of court, a few end up in court. During a trial, an expert witness might be called upon in order to testify in front of jurors or a judge about proof that needs a specialized or technically complex understanding.
Usually, expert witnesses are hired by the attorneys of both parties involved in the case, and the expert witnesses from either party may opine differently on the evidence provided. Moreover, a personal injury attorney, planning to call on an expert witness, must name them before the date of trial, and they are also required to qualify as “experts” in the eyes of the court.
In Florida, expert witnesses can have a considerable impact on the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit.
A few years ago, the state of Florida discontinued a strict standard that was considered unconstitutional as it put judges in the role of a scientist and violated the separation of powers required by the Constitution. This old standard also called the Daubert Standard, gave the judge the power to decide if an expert witness had enough skill, knowledge, education, training, or experience to be regarded as an expert witness.
The new standard, known as Frye Standard, has established a lower threshold for expert witnesses. According to this standard, an opinion provided by an expert witness only needs to show that the technique being used is widely accepted and considered reliable in the opposite scientific fraternity. This makes expert witnesses extremely helpful in proving the violation of the applicable duty of care and the extent of the damage.
Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer in Clermont, Florida to Represent Your Case
If your personal injury case involves complicated facts and issues, you may require an expert witness to fortify your case. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at MANGAL, PLLC –Clermont Personal Injury Law Firm – for help with your personal injury claim. As a legal expert, our attorney will consult and collaborate with expert witnesses on your behalf to help prove that the other party is responsible for your injuries and losses.